There's nothing like a 30% morning rise for the stock of a former tech superstar to get the meaningless headlines rolling. Earlier today, palmOne
Still, there's no denying the big jump the shares have taken today. Why are investors so jazzed about this evolving company, which last year not only ingested rival Handspring but split into two?
The gadget maker reported third-quarter revenues of $243 million, up 23% from last year's $198 million. But that prior-year figure doesn't tell the whole truth, since it includes no revenues from Handspring. Given the fact that management attributed much of the latest quarter's growth to strength in the Treo line -- which came from Handspring -- it seems fair to come up with a quick pro forma revenue estimate that takes Handspring's revenues into account.
Handspring had revenues of $31 million in its most comparable quarter last year. If we shave off a third of that to compensate for the one-month difference in reporting dates, the combined Handspring/Palm revenues from last year add up to $218 million. That means that sales from this year's combined entity were 11.5% more than what the two hardware makers sold during the same period last year. Hardly has the same ring, does it?
Beware a similar smokescreen in the earnings report. Today's widely reported "non-GAAP" earnings of $0.01 per share don't just shed one-time restructuring costs. They also ask you to ignore $5.4 million in "amortization of intangible assets and stock-based compensation." I'll stick with the GAAP number of a loss of $0.20 per share, thank you.
Despite the lower-than-hyped revenue gain, palmOne has made other improvements, including a 5% uptick in gross margin, a 38% increase in price per unit sold, and quicker turnover of inventory. Those are good steps forward, to be sure. But with plenty of competition from organizers by Dell
Can't get your organizer to speak to your desktop? Try the Fool's Help With This STUPID Computer discussion board.
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